White Bear Lake, Minn. (KARE/NBC) The owner of two east metro massage parlors is looking at time behind bars after being convicted in Washington County on multiple charges of sex trafficking.
Jurors took less than an hour to convict 52-year-old Shuxin Lan of White Bear Lake on the charges, and determined that her operations resulted in multiple victims. The convictions follow a lengthy investigation by the East Metro Sex Trafficking Task Force (EMSTTF).
A criminal complaint filed against Lan says members of the task force began investigating Lan after seeing an ad on backpage.com, and learning that a commercial sex operation was being run out of a business in Woodbury called Woodbury Wellness. While investigating, the EMSTTF learned that Lan owned another massage parlor known as Orchid Spa in the city of White Bear Lake.
Surveillance revealed a steady stream of men going in and out of the Woodbury business. Some of them were pulled over, and admitted to detectives that they had received sexual services.
Search warrants were served at both businesses on Sept. 11, 2018, and agents recovered what Washington County prosecutors call "copious amounts" of evidence confirming that Lan was running a prostitution business. Several victims were also identified and removed.
“The fact that this brothel was active in two cities, in bustling shopping centers open to the public, and in broad daylight is a testament of what these traffickers will do for money," said Washington County Attorney Pete Orput in a written statement. "Our office will continue to aggressively prosecute these cases to achieve justice for the victims with no voice.”
“Over the past four years we have dedicated resources to address this scourge in our community," added Woodbury Chief of Police Lee Vague. "The safety of citizens in Woodbury is and always will be our focus. It is imperative that the work of the task force continues as we encounter new evils every day.”